One of the most common obstacles to CX transformation is a misunderstanding of what CX is really about, among people who are not CX professionals.

And if you are a CX professional trying to explain it to colleagues, it can be hard to know where to start since you’re immersed in CX every day. So here’s some clarification that you might find useful either for your own understanding or to help some of your colleagues.

Let’s start with Forrester’s definition of CX, which has been widely accepted and cited since 1998 when the company launched its CX research:

  1. CX is customers’ perceptions of their interactions with a brand: Those perceptions are the reality of CX. And CX encompasses all interactions with a brand, from seeing advertisements to using products and getting support. CX has another meaning, too, which is important to be aware of:
  2. CX is a profession focused on understanding and shaping the experiences of a company’s customers and of others in its ecosystem who also influence its customers’ experiences.

What CX pros call themselves varies widely, but the activities that make up their work fall into six broad competencies:

  • Research, to understand the needs and motivations of a specific population.
  • Prioritisation, to decide which of those needs and motivations to address.
  • Design, to conceive and specify experiences that address those needs and motivations.
  • Enablement, to provide the resources required for experiences to be delivered as designed.
  • Measurement, to assess whether the experiences are producing the desired outcomes.
  • Culture, to instil the right values and behaviours in people who contribute to the experiences.

Let’s consider a concrete scenario of a company we’ll call Acme Bank applying these six competencies in sequence:

  • Research: Acme Bank digs deep into the banking-related needs and motivations of its desired customers by interviewing, surveying, and observing them — among other methods.
  • Prioritisation: It’s unlikely Acme can (or wants to) address all those needs and motivations, so it ranks them to decide which to tackle immediately and which to postpone or ignore.
  • Design: Acme invents new experiences (or refines existing ones) that it believes will address the needs and motivations it prioritised.
  • Enablement: Acme develops the resources it needs to turn the designs into customer-ready experiences — software for the digital aspects and employee training for the human aspects.
  • Measurement: Acme examines customers’ perceptions of the experiences it is delivering and compares its findings to what it intended for them to perceive.
  • Culture: Acme spreads customer-centric values and behaviours that improve and amplify the effect of employees’ activities across the other five competencies.

CX pros apply these six competencies to the experiences of all types of customers. Nothing about them is specific to traditional commercial relationships. They are equally relevant to the relationships between hospitals and their patients, universities and their students, governments and their citizens, IT departments and the employees who rely on them, and so on. The differences lie mostly in what motivates these organisations to improve the experiences of the people they seek to serve.

The key to achieving reliably good CX is to not only apply these six competencies, but do so with rigour, cadence, coordination, and accountability — the elements of disciplined CX management that are necessary to achieve real CX transformation.

If you would like to learn more, check out Forrester’s complimentary eBook ‘Capturing The ROI Of CX’ eBook.

 

David Truog is VP and Research Director at Forrester.

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